Aim: To understand the self-perceived educational priorities among oncology nurses.
Background: Oncology nurses are the main providers of care to people affected by cancer. However, little is known about the educational needs and priorities of oncology nurses when providing care to people living with cancer.
Design: A national online survey.
Setting: The Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA) is an Australian wide professional body for cancer nurses. At the time of conducting the research, there were approximately 1300 members. All members were invited to participate in the survey. CNSA provided access to nurses working in all areas of cancer care, including inpatient wards, outpatient centres, ambulatory day oncology units, radiation oncology, bone marrow transplant units, educational, and research units.
Participants: Registered nurses involved in direct care of people affected by cancer who were members of CNSA, and ability to communicate in English.
Methods: The instrument consisted of a 15-item online questionnaire which included demographic and professional questions related to the self-perceived oncology educational needs which were free-text. This survey was hosted using an online electronic data capture system (i.e., SurveyMonkey®), and the electronic link was sent to the CNSA who then sent an email invitation to the 1300 members.
Results: 610 educational needs were identified and ranked. These individual answers were grouped into seven overarching categories with various sub-categories within each group. The oncology nurses identified important educational topics which included: a) cancer biology, b) treatments, c) direct patient care, d) age-specific cancer care, e) leadership and research, and f) law and ethics.
Conclusion: As the number of people affected by cancer continue to rise, addressing the educational needs and priorities of oncology nurses has never been so important. Higher educational institutions and healthcare institutions should consider these findings in addressing the learning needs for the current oncology nursing workforce.
Keywords: Nursing education; Nursing students; Oncology nursing.
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